Photo Flash: Walnut Street Theatre's MISS SAIGON

Walnut Street Theatre concludes its landmark 202nd season with an all-new production of the musical masterpiece MISS SAIGON. Directed by award-winning Director Bruce Lumpkin, the international sensation MISS SAIGON began previews on May 17th, opened on May 25th and runs through July 17th on the WST Mainstage.

MISS SAIGON is a classic love story brought up-to-date in one of the most stunning theatrical spectacles of all time. In the turmoil of the Vietnam War, an American soldier and a Vietnamese girl fall in love, only to be separated during the fall of Saigon. Their struggles to find each other over the ensuing years end in tragedy for her and a fighting chance for the child he never knew he had.

Taking inspiration from the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, composers of Les Miserables, collaborated with Richard Maltby, Jr. to create MISS SAIGON. It premiered in 1989 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, where it ran for ten years. Its Broadway premiere happened at the Broadway Theatre in 1991, earning 11 Tony nominations including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

Directing MISS SAIGON is Walnut veteran Bruce Lumpkin. Lumpkin has directed numerous Mainstage and Studio 3 productions, including last season's highly acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof. Additional Walnut Mainstage productions include Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Evita, Grand Hotel, La Vie En Bleu, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Joining Lumpkin are two familiar faces, Choreographer Michelle Gaudette and Musical Director Douglass G. Lutz. Gaudette has previously choreographed at the Walnut for productions including Fiddler on the Roof, State Fair, Man of La Mancha, Carousel and Evita. Musical Director Douglass G. Lutz has brought his talent to numerous Mainstage musicals for the past twelve seasons, most recently Fiddler on the Roof, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Oliver!

Taking you inside the seedy night club Dreamland, to the crowded streets of Vietnam, to "The American Dream" is a group of artists familiar to the Walnut. Scenic Designer John Farrell (Fiddler on the Roof, Carousel) is joined by Lighting Designer Jack Jacobs (Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha, West Side Story), Sound Designer David Temby (Curtains) and award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Grady (Amadeus, Fiddler on the Roof).

The cast includes Melinda Chua (Kim) and Eric Kunze (Chris), both having performed in MISS SAIGON on Broadway stages. Bobby Martino (The Engineer) joins the cast, having performed the musical with the original London cast. Walnut audiences will remember Kate Fahrner (Ellen) as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. MISS SAIGON also features Angelica-Lee Aspiras (Assistant Commissar/Gigi), Philip Michael Baskerville (John), and Mel Sagrado Maghuyop (Thuy). Local child actors Isabella Le (performing weekdays) and Ella Hampton (Performing weekends) will both make their Walnut debuts sharing the role of Tam.

The ensemble includes Joey Abramowicz, Billy Bustamante, Jeffrey Coon, Nina Crupiti, Enrique Cruz DeJesus, Ben Dibble, Shane Donovan, Janelle Dote, Jamison Foreman, Charles Hagerty, Makoto Hirano, Nam Holtz, Joanne Javien, Adam Kaokept, Leon Le, LaMae, Ben Michael, JP Moraga, Manna Nichols, Enrico Rodriquez, Jee Teo and Allen F. Weaver.

MISS SAIGON runs at the Walnut May 17 through July 17. This production is sponsored by Progressive Business Publications. Media Sponsors are B101 and NBC 10. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787 . Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.

Photo Credit: Mark Garvin

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